Sometimes its hard to tell a true Miamian from a Juanito-come-lately. The closest thing we have to a litmus test is knowledge of a short-lived local TV show that ran from 1977 to 1980 called ¿Qué Pasa, USA? If, for example, you know that Rocky Echevarría starred as Joe Peña on that show, even though he would go on to change his name to Stephen Bauer when he costarred with Al Pacino in Scarface, then feel free to call yourself a legit Miamian. The show was for South Floridas Latinos what The Jeffersonsor Good Timeswas for African-Americans. ¿Qué Pasa, USA? defined the pre-Mariel Hispanic experience in Miami, with its spot-on depiction of the difficulties of assimilating into American culture and the divisions between immigrants and their first-generation children. More than that, though, it was funny and provided a slice of Miami life. It still reverberates three decades later, which is why the Miami-Dade Public Library is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a special screening of clips and episodes curated by local outfit generation ñ. There will also be discussions about the impact of the show on people who grew up in Miami and a reading from Foryoucansee collective, authors of Hialeah Haikus.
Thu., March 3, 6:30 p.m., 2011